You may have already read my book review of Jump Ship by Josh Shipp. As I mentioned in that review, the book offers much more than guidance for changing careers. There are many gems hidden in the pages that have potential for profound life-changing “ah ha” moments. One of them is this question, “What do you believe you are capable of?”
Those 8 words stopped me in my tracks. I re-read them several times. What do I believe I am capable of? It sounds like a lot of ego, but I have always believed I was capable of great things. There has always been a burning desire to do something big, something that mattered, something remarkable. I honestly don’t know where that came from. I don’t remember being told that I could do something important. Actually, I remember being told from a variety of sources that I wasn’t anything special. There were those warnings that “pride goeth before a fall”, that I was acting “too big for my britches”, and many other quaint but powerful statements that suggest that “I am not all that.”
I heard them. Believe me, I definitely heard them. And there were times that I didn’t attempt something because I also, on some level, believed them. Little things, like not being one of the senior superlatives in high school also caused me to question and doubt. There were many comments and experiences to help balance some of this out. I received many accolades for being smart. My musical talent was almost always praised. And boy could I water ski for such a little kid. So while there were individual ups and downs in my confidence level at certain points in my life, that tiny little spark never went out.
It was that tiny spark that has allowed me to continue pushing through the tough times and continue striving for something better. So what do I believe I am capable of? I’m still not sure. Words like “anything” and “almost anything” come to mind but are quickly silenced by the doubts of other people that still ring in my ears. So, I chose to revise the question to “what do I want to be capable of?” That seemed like an easier place to start. In the context of Jump Ship I want to be capable of making a living as an author.
Next in the Jump Ship process is the internal review process. OK, so I want it – but do I BELIEVE IT? That is TBD. After writing and publishing the last two books I have discovered just how much is really involved in becoming an author. It isn’t as simple as just writing some pages of text and voila, you are an author. My third book has been sitting in the wings, almost complete for more than two years. On my white board over my desk I have written “Authors Must Write” in big bold letters to remind me what I must do to accomplish this.
So my expanded set of questions includes, “Am I capable of coming up with the ideas, capable of editing, capable of promoting, able to tolerate rejection, and all of the other things that go along with it?” So far I’ve found that I am certainly better prepared for some of these tasks than others, and I enjoy doing some of these tasks much more than I enjoy others.
I do believe Josh Shipp’s premise that you have to BELIEVE in order to really ACHIEVE your dreams. So what about you? What do you believe you are capable of?